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HNW Guide 2022

Wilberforce has had another fantastic year in Chambers & Partners’ HNW Guide with 21 barrister rankings across three practice areas, as well as a tier one set ranking in Chancery: Traditional and a tier two in Tax: Private Client.

Full coverage in the 2022 guide can be found here.

 

Art & Cultural Property

Gilead Cooper QC of Wilberforce Chambers is well known for handling major chancery cases and he is also a respected figure in the art law market. “He’s great. He is a technician. He is very considered and thoughtful. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to art as he has a genuine interest,” observes an art lawyer, and another says: “I can’t speak highly enough about him. His knowledge and attention to detail are second to none. He’s client-friendly and user-friendly and gets to the problem very quickly.”

Bobby Friedman of Wilberforce Chambers maintains a commercial practice of fraud, insolvency and shareholder disputes, and also advises on complex art matters. “Bobby is impressive. He’s got a lot of art experience and he is a good advocate,” according to an interviewee.

 

Chancery: Traditional

Wilberforce Chambers has an impressive group of barristers who handle complex disputes surrounding trusts and estates, often relying upon multi-jurisdictional knowledge of the law. “They are top of their game as one of the top sets,” comments a source, who continues: “They have a huge breadth of expertise and always seem like a lively bunch.”

“The responsiveness from both counsel and the clerks’ room is excellent. All barristers who I have instructed have been very user-friendly and accessible. Likewise, the service from the clerks’ room is the best I have experienced; they are always on hand to field enquiries and to assist wherever they can,” reports an interviewee. Nicholas Luckman is the practice director.

Brian Green QC is a distinguished chancery expert who often oversees sizeable trust disputes and pensions cases. “He is absolutely outstanding,” remarks a commentator, adding: “His advice is strategic, clear, helpful and proactive, whilst remaining user-friendly.” A litigator believes that Green is “simply the best chancery advocate. He is brilliant with clients, brilliant with the court, incredibly hard-working and on top of everything. The best.

Robert Ham QC is an expert in contentious and non-contentious trusts and private client work. A solicitor notes that Ham is “the oracle when it comes to trusts restructuring,” adding that he has an “unbelievable amount of experience and knowledge in the area. When acting for a trustee, there is nobody better.” 

Gilead Cooper QC advises clients on complex onshore and offshore trusts disputes. “Gilead has a rapier-like intellect,” observes a litigator, who continues: “He stands back and looks at the issues from angles that others would not normally consider. He is one of the great lateral thinkers of the Chancery Bar.” 

Michael Furness QC is sought after for domestic and international trust litigation that often contains embedded tax issues. A source acknowledges that Furness “swiftly masters complex material,” adding: “He sees through to the core points that really matter, whilst at the same time not losing sight of important detail.” A similarly impressed interviewee remarks: “He is clever and can deal with complex cases; he is perfect if you want sensible high-level advice. He is right at the top of his game.” 

Clare Stanley QC is “a titan when it comes to complex litigation,” observes a commentator, owing to her “no-holds-barred type of approach” which “commands the respect of judges.” Stanley is an expert in handling high-value trust and probate matters. “Clare is a pleasure to deal with and is very popular with clients. She is brilliant on her feet and has a calm approach. She knows trusts law back to front but also has a very strong strategic vision,” acknowledges an interviewee.

Jonathan Hilliard QC is “a force of nature, so energetic and meticulous,” observes a commentator: “He completely prepares for everything and raises everyone else’s game.” Hilliard is well known for handling domestic and international trusts work, especially where significant structures are concerned. An interviewee describes him as “incredibly hard-working, with brilliant recall and attention to detail,” before concluding: “He is an asset to any client.” 

Andrew Child‘s caseload includes high-value trust and estate disputes that involve fraud elements and offshore litigation.

Emily Campbell is “an excellent barrister” who has “absolute command of the technical issues and is always a pleasure to deal with,” remarks a solicitor. Campbell has a well-rounded practice that covers trusts, private client work and often complex tax advice. Her ability to handle sophisticated matters is acknowledged by one source who says: “Emily really is my go-to for anything complicated or difficult. She is just brilliant.” 

Fenner Moeran QC is “very bright, highly skilled and agile in his advocacy,” according to an interviewee, who continues: “He is able to get quickly to the nub and heart of complex issues, but without losing sight of the big picture. He is always a pleasure to deal with.” Moeran is highly regarded for his expertise in trusteeship matters and Inheritance Act claims. “He is wonderful with clients, he has a strong penetrating legal brain that analyses issues very well and is able to communicate very lucidly with clients. He is brilliant really,” concludes a commentator.

Jonathan Davey QC is a tax and pensions specialist who often represents clients in significant litigation. An interviewee remarks: “Jonathan is a very astute advocate and a strong favourite of HMRC. He is an absolute pleasure to work alongside and is always calm under pressure.” A litigator describes Davey as “impressively responsive, very approachable and user-friendly,” before concluding that he is “an invaluable addition to the team and well worth the investment for the client.”

Tiffany Scott QC advises clients in contentious and non-contentious trusts and estates issues. Scott often handles cases that span multiple jurisdictions, in which conflict of laws is a factor. “Tiffany is a first-rate tactician who has a real knack for seeing ahead. She combines this with encyclopaedic technical knowledge. She is never flustered, always prepared, extremely responsive and has a way about her that puts the client at ease straight away,” a commentator enthuses.

Zoe Barton QC “brings pragmatism mixed with razor-sharp intellect to all complex trust matters,” reports an interviewee. She regularly handles offshore trust disputes and will validity challenges. Another source feels that Barton is “robust and practical” in her approach and concludes: “I feel confident taking my clients to her.” 

Andrew Mold QC has a broad chancery practice that includes handling breach of trust and fiduciary claims for various parties. A source describes him as “very methodical and thoughtful” in his approach and acknowledges that he is “certainly making a name for himself in this area.” An equally impressed interviewee adds: “He is a very capable and reassuring pair of hands and is totally trusted by our client.” 

Jennifer Seaman is a specialist in probate and estate disputes, as well as pensions and professional negligence litigation. A source notes that Seaman is “really superb technically with fantastic knowledge of the area, very user-friendly and adaptable,” before concluding that she “is always an asset on any matter.” A commentator appreciates her “calm, measured and precise” approach to cases, continuing: “She has a great manner with clients and inspires confidence.”

Michael Ashdown combines expertise in private client trusts law with extensive tax knowledge to handle disputes centred on wills, trusts and estates. He has forged a reputation as an “absolutely superb barrister,” says one interviewee, who continues: “He is my go-to for complex trust matters and never disappoints. He always appears to relish the challenge presented by complex or unique points of law. With regards to Michael, work is completed on time and is always presented in a professional and polished manner. Clients are left feeling they have received an exceptional service.” Ashdown’s approach is also commended by a commentator who says: “Michael is very impressive, very knowledgeable, gets to the heart of the point and sets it out extremely clearly.”

James Goodwin has built “a great reputation, he is everything you want in a capable junior,” remarks a litigator, who adds: “He rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in, he is going places.” His chancery practice includes assisting in probate litigation and often multi-jurisdictional succession disputes. Commentators speak very highly of Goodwin. “He is a real star in the making,” says one source; “he is quite junior at the moment but has gained a lot of experience. His written work in particular is far and away above his years of call. He is exceptionally bright.” Another professional shares similar sentiments, concluding that Goodwin is “a brilliant addition to any team. He is smart, commercially switched on and very personable.”

 

Tax: Private Client

Wilberforce is widely known as one of London’s top chancery sets, regularly involved in the largest litigation matters in the UK and offshore. It also has a high-end tax practice for private client matters. “I am fully confident in their breadth of expertise to handle expert and complex matters,” says a source; “they can advise on pretty much every aspect of offshore tax, which is extremely difficult to do,” says another.

“The staff and clerks I have dealt with have always been very efficient and pleasant to deal with,” says a source. Another reports that Wilberforce’s “clerks are some of the best in the business.” Nicholas Luckman is the set’s practice director.

Brian Green QC is one of the most well known practitioners in this area,” says a source; “he’s got an extremely good reputation.” Green has a broad practice which includes advising on trusts tax matters. Another source describes him as “an extremely bright individual; he advises on our most complex and largest trusts. It’s always difficult for some who are so clever to get down to our level, but he is good with clients. He does have a really good client manner as well as being able to explain tricky and difficult things in lay terms.”

Jonathan Davey QC is a tax and pensions specialist who often represents clients in significant litigation. An interviewee remarks: “Jonathan is a very astute advocate and a strong favourite of HMRC. He is an absolute pleasure to work alongside and is always calm under pressure.” A litigator describes Davey as “impressively responsive, very approachable and user-friendly,” before concluding that he is “an invaluable addition to the team and well worth the investment for the client.” 

Emily Campbell is a trusts and tax specialist who has a broad practice. “Emily is an excellent barrister – clever and a pleasure to work with,” says one interviewee. “Emily is my go-to counsel for any complex tax or trust issue,” says another.